Green Buckeye RN

OMB Watch: Cutting Costs and Courting Contamination: What Food Safety Budget Cuts Mean for Public Safety
May 2, 2012, 10:12 am
Filed under: News

Posted on April 17, 2012    The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the federal regulator of meat, poultry, and egg products, faces resource limitations that make it more difficult for the agency to ensure the safety of the food supply. New plans to cut costs could have severe consequences for public health and safety.

Although the FSIS budget had seen a fairly steady increase since the agency was created, over the past two years, funding has fallen and its budget and staffing levels have failed to keep up with increases in food production. As a result, the number of meat, poultry, and egg product recalls has increased.   The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) created FSIS in 1981. Federal law requires the agency to monitor the slaughter, processing, and labeling of all meat and poultry and to inspect meat, poultry, and egg products to ensure products are not contaminated. The agency is responsible for ensuring the safety and wholesomeness of the billions of pounds of meat, poultry, and egg products that enter the market each year.   President Obama’s budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2013 seeks about $8 million less than FSIS received in 2012. This cut comes after two consecutive years of funding decreases for the agency.

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